Manchester United Women vs Tottenham Hotspur Women Match Recap
The home team controlled much of the first half, limiting Manchester United Women to just 2 chances before Alessia Russo put United ahead with a spectacular goal. Spurs grabbed a point in injury time in dramatic fashion, thanks to Ria Percival’s free-kick.
Spurs keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela initially denied Russo from a tight angle in the 37th minute. She saw a follow up chance from the rebound deflect over as the visitors looked for their first goal.
Russo showed great strength and control to keep the Spurs defence at bay and fire home the opener. Collecting the ball a few yards from the penalty box, Russo charged past 2 defenders and put the ball home; Korpela could only look on.
The hosts rallied back in the dying minutes of the match to get their first ever point against United.
Manchester United Women: Earps, Blundell, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Batlle, Ladd, Zelem (C), Hanson (Thomas 72), Toone (Staniforth 72), Galton, Russo
Hosts Tottenham Hotspur actually got the first chance of the match within 5 minutes. Ashleigh Neville made a pass to teammate Jessica Naz. Naz aimed the ball cleverly towards goal from a distance, forcing Mary Earps to make a save on her 50th appearance for Manchester United Women.
Both sides struggled to get into a groove and take control of the match, fighting it out in the midfield. The visitors eventually found their rhythm and gained dominance over possession.
Both teams were very much on the prowl for the first goal, but United looked to have made it when Ella Toone sent the ball back into the area after Katie Zelem’s corner had been cleared away. Leah Galton found the ball and headed it over the bar, but for nought because the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside.
Russo created an excellent chance just before the break. She cut inside and glided past defender Shelina Zadorsky before aiming her shot at goal. Korpela was forced to make a save but could only deflect the ball back into an ideal spot for Galton. United’s striker tried her luck on the rebound, but Percival was there to deflect.
Russo had another chance in stoppage time, one that left Spurs stunned. Charging past 2 opponents, she found herself 1-1 with the last defender before she fired a shot towards goal. Korpela had no chance to save that, Russo put too much power behind her shot to give the visitors the lead.
United came racing out — no doubt eager to extend their lead — with a flurry of chances immediately after the break. The highlight was when Toone found teammate Kristy Hanson, who tried smashing one in from the center. Korpela saved the shot and Galton looked ready to capitalise on the rebound, but the keeper did just enough to save the ball in time.
Galton had another chance inside the area, but a Spurs defender deflected the shot away. Enduring the early onslaught, Spurs gradually found their rhythm and got back into the match themselves. They finally gave Earps something to do from the 65th minute. Kit Graham shot what would have been a phenomenal goal from 30 yards, and Earps did well to make a diving save. Earps followed up by claiming the resulting corner as well, keeping her team’s lead.
Marc Skinner’s team was set for another victory, even increasing the intensity with substitute Martha Thomas’s late chances.
Late on though, sheer luck saved a desperate home team as Spurs got their equaliser from Percival’s optimistic free-kick. The ball somehow got past all 10 United players in the box and a diving Earps, giving Spurs a share of the spoils.
Russo nearly gave United the lead again, as she got behind a cross from Galton, but Korpela denied her to keep the draw.
Percival’s speculative ball into the box with just seconds remaining cleared a scrum of Spurs attackers and United defenders and bounced beyond goalkeeper Mary Earps. The set-piece cancelled out Alessia Russo’s first-half solo effort, and also earned Spurs their first-ever point against United.
Reflecting on the match, United’s manager Skinner said, “It’s disappointing not to take the three points. Mary Earps has got no chance [with the free-kick equaliser]. It’s a good ball from them and we have to be better at defending it.
“I didn’t feel that threatened by Tottenham bar a few shots from distance against the wind. I didn’t feel they got in behind to hurt us until that moment. It felt pretty controlled, but we have to be better at hurting them when we are controlling it.”